Leaving The Toronto Raptors May Be The Best Thing To Happen To Jonas Valanciunas's Career
Former Raptors star Jonas Valanciunas is finally showing the NBA what he’s been leaving in the tank. Valanciunas, who was traded to Memphis alongside C.J. Miles and Delon Wright back in February in exchange for Marc Gasol, has been showing the league what he’s capable of when he is not stuck riding the bench.
Valanciunas had spent his last two months with the Raptors on the sidelines due to a sprained thumb. Before the injury, JV tended to average just under 20 minutes a game. Since joining Memphis, Valanciunas has played an average of 25.6 minutes per game, giving him a notable boost of play time compared to his average with the Raptors.
JV has used the extra time on the court to his advantage,putting up an average of 18.5 points, with an all-time high of 27 points in 25 minutes, which the player achieved on March 8th when the Grizzlies faced off against Utah. Since joining Memphis, Valanciunas has racked up 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, and 2.2 assists. Check out his stats below.
Jonas Valanciunas had his Grizzlies career-best night! pic.twitter.com/okpLH9pgW4
Not only has Valanciunas stepped up his own game, but he has also made the lives of his teammates easier. When JV is on the court with his fellow Grizzlies, their offensive rating shoots up an impressive 8.1 percent going from 102.2 to 109.3.
The former Raptor has also had a significant impact on the team’s rebounding. Since joining the team, JV has helped raise the Grizzlies from 28th to 16th in the league's rebounding stats, taking them from 47.9 percent to 49.9 percent. Valanciunas's skills at boxing out and snatching rebounds have pushed the team, who are certainly not know for their rebounding abilities, a little further in the right direction.
As for his ties to Toronto, JV explained in an interview this Tuesday that the team “was his family” and that he is still “rooting for them.” Valanciunas was a beloved figure in Toronto. But given his new stats, maybe it was for the best that he left when he did.